Thrilling and spectacular soccer games have been played in Bethlehem but few if any to compare to the ninety minutes combat witnessed on the home lot on Saturday afternoon when Bethlehem and Hakoah All-Stars drew at 2 goals each. Witnessed by the biggest crowd of the season the patrons were well rewarded by seeing a game bitterly fought and carried on at a terrific pace from the opening minute to the final blast of the referees whistle.
While many players were outstanding, the playing of Fischer, the visitors custodian, will be inscribed in soccer annals as the most phenomenal display through his sensational handling Hakoah managed to win.
Scoring two goals in the first half it looked as though Hakoah would finally break through to score a victory over Bethlehem in league games played this season. But Bethlehem came back and knotted the count in the second half and was pressing hard at the final whistle. IT was the sixth meeting of the two teams, the National champions taking the count on four previous occasions and sharing the honors with Bethlehem on the other two.
Bill Carnihan, center halfback of the homesters, was unable to start and while his absence was no doubt missed nevertheless the team uncovered a capable understudy in Willie Reid.
Paired off with Reid were Captain MacGregor and Sturdy Maxwell. Both fit in perfectly and the playing of MacGregor especially was one of the finest exhibitions of grit and stamina possibly ever witnessed in a soccer game.
The opening minutes of play found Bethlehem attacking and in rapid succession shots from Purgavie, Rollo and then Gillespie went by. Continuing the pressure Fischer made his first bid to fame when he handled a terrific drive from Stark and an instant later took one off the boot of Massie.
Hardly was the ball returned on the goal kick before Bethlehem was again in Hakoah territory and shots from Purgavie and Stark again missed the mark. Fully eighteen minutes of play were consumed before Hakoah had its first real breakaway when, however, was productive. Down the field sped the speedy Jewish forwards, swinging the ball from center to the wings. Eisenhoffer scored on a long cross from the right wing with an unsaveable shot.
Then Bethlehem again did the attacking, McGregor taking a shot from far out on which he earned a corner. Three other corners followed before the ball was finally cleared and kicked out of danger. In spite of this terrific bombardment Bethlehem was unable to score. Two minutes of the half remained to be played when Hakoah again got away and Gruenwald met Schwartzs center to drive the ball high into the far corner of the net.
Two down at the restart Bethlehem went at it as though possessed and within a short time the Hakoah goal was again jeopardized. Finally these aggressive and determined tactics were rewarded when on his shot, Purgavie was conceded a corner. He placed his kick beautifully to the goal mouth where Stark seemed to have Fischer well blocked and it looked as though the ball caromed off Steinberg and trolled into the net where he attempted to clear. SO intense was the skirmish that after the game players of neither side were able to give an accurate version of how the ball went into the net, or who really did score. While some thought it came off Steinberg others were just as positive that it bounded off Stark.
Purgavie taking a corner kick narrowly missed equalizing the count when another of his well placed shots swerved toward the net and had Fischer beat but was a few inches too high, caroming off the cross bar and into the playing field. But before Hakoah could bet the ball out of New York territory Rollo slipped a pass to Massie and the latter in center sent in a crashing shot with the tying goal.
One newcomer made his appearance in the Bethlehem lineup. HE was William Gibson, late with the Boston club, in the American Soccer League. Gibson paired off with Allan at a back position and made a very favorable impression. His acquisition promises to be a valuable asset to the team. The lineup:
Fischer G -- Beveridge
Grosz RFB Gibson
Steinberg LFB Allan
Nicholsburger RHB Maxwell
Drucker CHB W. Reid
Mahrer LHB MacGregor
Schwartz OR Gillespie
Haeusler IR Massie
Gruewald CF Stark
Wortman IL Rollo
Eisenhoffer OL -- Purgavie
Goals Eisenhoffer, Gruenwald, Steinberg for Bethlehem (accidental), Massie. Referee: Pat Hawley of Philadelphia. Linesmen Fred Pepper and Horace Williams. Time of halves 45 minutes.